The Ondo State High Court in Akure, the state capital, on Thursday began hearing on the case involving the founder of Sotitobire Miracle Centre Akure, Prophet Alfa Babatunde, over a missing one-year-old boy in his church.
The boy – Eniola Gold Kolawole, was declared missing on November 10, 2019 during a Sunday service, sparking public outrage.
The prophet, who is standing trial alongside six other members of his church, is being charged by the Department of State Services.
Peter Anjorin, one of the suspects earlier declared wanted for tempering with evidence, also appeared in court on Thursday.
The embattled cleric is facing three counts including kidnapping of the missing child.
The defendants pleaded not guilty when the charges were read before them in court.
During the sitting, the bail application earlier filed by the defendants counsel, Olusola Oke, could not stand before the court.
In her counter argument, Mrs Grace Olowoporoku from the office of the Directorate of Public Prosecution told the court that there were seven witnesses ready to testify before the court in the ongoing case of the missing child and pleaded for more time.
She however, added that the counsel to the defendant had also filed multiple bail applications, which she said were difficult for the state to accommodate.
In his ruling, the trial judge, Justice Olusegun Odusola, asked counsel to the defendants to ensure proper filing of his bail applications pending the next court hearing.
He thereafter adjourned the case until March16 ,17 and 19, 2020 for further hearing and ordered that the prophet should be taken back to Olotuka Correctional Centre.